Florida man is first person with Down syndrome to finish Ironman triathlon

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Photo: Special Olympics

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A 21-year-old Florida man has made history as the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman triathlon, which includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run in a single day.

The Special Olympics connected Chris Nikic with Ironman competitor Dan Grieb, who helped train him.  

Florida race officials required Nikic to be tethered to Grieb in the ocean Saturday for safety reasons. Grieb also rode behind Nikic on the bike course and stayed near him on the run. But Nikic did all the work on his own.

He completed a practice, half-triathlon earlier this year in 8 hours, 25 minutes.

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